David Drysdale is hoping to make the most of a “bonus” in the shape of a partially unexpected appearance in this week’s £5.7 million Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.
In normal circumstances, the Cockburnspath-based player would have seen his 2016 campaign come to an end following the last regular event of the European Tour campaign – the Portugal Masters – a fortnight ago.
But, due to a spate of players, led by Rory McIlroy, pulling out of the opening event on this season’s Final Series, Drysdale got in comfortably in the end to a tournament starting tomorrow at a new venue, the Regnum Carya resort.
World No.2 McIlroy, who had been due to be the event’s star attraction, withdrew on Saturday in the wake of a recent rocket attack and car explosion in the Antalya area.
“I half thought I’d get in, to be honest,” Drysdale told the Evening News on the practice area. “I was third reserve after Portugal and, after hearing about the car explosion last week, I thought a few people might pull out. The biggest concern last week was that the event would still go ahead and, from Tuesday to Thursday, I wasn’t really sure I’d be here.
“But I’m glad I am and it’s a bonus, that’s for sure. It’s a chance to move up and hopefully get into next week as well.”
The Nedbank Challenge in South Africa is the second Final Series event before the top 60 in the Race to Dubai fight out the DP World Tour Championship in a fortnight’s time in the UAE.
“I was hoping to get in, here I am and it’s about trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” added Drysdale. “The prizes are so big these next few weeks that you can move up quite a bit with a decent finish.”
The former Dunbar assistant pro was forced to pull out of the British Masters at The Grove last month before returning to make the cut in Portugal.
He finished 91st in the Race to Dubai as he held on to his playing rights for the ninth season in a row.
“It was an niflamed disc in my lower back and I stopped when I felt it coming on,” said Drysdale of missing the penultimate regular event of the season. “I’ve had enough back problems over the years to know not to push things.
“If you keep going at it in that position, you can put yourself out for a few weeks and maybe even a month.
“I couldn’t have played the British Masters, to be honest. It was maybe a combination of cold weather at the Dunhill then driving down to The Grove. When I got up on the Thursday morning it wasn’t great so I made making Portugal.
“I saw my physio, Stuart Barton, and I’ve not felt it since. He’s unbelievable. He’s frightening, in fact.
“I’ve been seeing Barty for fifteen years now and I’ve had three or four injuries where phsyios out here have been saying ‘you’ll be out for six to eight weeks’ but he’s had me back in ten days.
“Okay, sometimes I’ve had to see him a couple of times a day or at least once a day, but he really is amazing.”